Nikon will release the D800 and D800E cameras in March and April, bringing to market two digital SLRs featuring a 36.3 megapixel FX-format sensor.
The D800 and D800E will seat alongside the D700, and will cater to different needs. While both models sport the same main features such as its specifically-designed sensor, the D800E will be marketed at enthusiasts and professional photographers working in studio conditions or on commercial shoots.
The D800E incorporates an optical filter with anti-aliasing properties removed in order to facilitate the sharpest images possible, according to Nikon. "This is an ideal tool for photographers who can control light, distance and their subject to the degree where they can mitigate the increased risk of moiré and false colour." Aside from the optical filter, all functions and features are the same as on the D800, the Japanese firm adds.
Both models can produce unprocessed raw files of more than 70MB, which can result in processed TIFF files of 212MB. "The images are so big that for the first time ina Nikon DSLR, we've employed [the] USB 3.0 technology," says James Banfield of Nikon UK.
The decision to pack a 36.3 megapixel sensor in a DSLR body will certainly have an impact on the digital medium format camera market, Nikon believes. "The D800 offers imaging potential to rival medium format cameras, but with all of the agility of the DSLR format - giving professionals who demand attention to detail the freedom to create monumental images," reads a communiqué released by Nikon yesterday, ahead of today's announcement.
"It's about growth for Nikon," Jeremy Gilbert, group marketing manager at Nikon UK, tells BJP. "Everything that we launch, everything that we do is about increasing our share of the market. We don't want to ignore a specific market, and we don't want to reject any photographers that want to choose the Nikon brand, and you'll find, whether they are studio photographers or someone that is doing wedding, if they want to use just one system, we'll be ready to support that, so, yes [medium format camera users] are important for Nikon."
The D800 and D800E offer 12-channel readout with 14-bit A/D conversion and high signal-to-noise ratio to deliver images of "remarkable quality with low noise and wide dynamic range," claims Nikon. It also offers an ISO range of 100 to 6400, extendable to 25,600 equivalent, and down to 50.
Both models feature the Expeed 3 image-processing engine, 16-bit image processing and a 91,000-pixel RGB sensor for its Advanced Scene Recognition system, which can accurately detect human faces, recognise a scene's colours and brightness, says Nikon.
But, the D800 and D800E are also expected to bring competition to Canon's EOS 5D Mark II with advanced video features. Similarly to the recently-announced D4, the D800 and its sister camera will offer full-HD recording capabilities at 30p, 25p and 24, with 60p, 50p and 25p available at a definition of 720p.
Nikon has brought new audio controls to its DSLRs, with an external stereo microphone input and an audio out for external headphones. The camera also offers uncompressed HDMI output, which lets professional photographers and filmmakers view and control their images on external monitors in real time. "As with the Nikon D4, this data is output at the designated image size and frame rate, and is clean of the information overlay that can be simultaneously displayed on the camera's TFT monitor," says Nikon in its statement.
Both cameras also sport the Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus system, with up to 51-point coverage settings, offer burst rates of up to 4fps in FX-format and 6fps in DX-format crop mode, and can support both Compact Flash and SD cards.
Finally, the D800 and D800E offer four different image crop modes - 5:4 equivalent to 30x24mm; 1.2x or 30x19.9mm, DX-format equivalent to 23.4x15.6mm and FX-format.
The D800 will be released on 22 March at a retail price of £2400 body only, while the D800E will only be available from 12 April at selected retailers for £2690.
For more information, visit www.nikon.co.uk.
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